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The Slants (The Slants)
Portrait of Asian-American band The Slants (L-R: Joe X Jiang, Ken Shima, Tyler Chen, Simon "Young" Tam, Joe X Jiang) in Old Town Chinatown, Portland, Oregon, USA on 21st August 2015. (Photo by: Anthony Pidgeon/Redferns)

The case of The Slants, a rock band whose name was deemed offensive, heads to SCOTUS today


The case of The Slants, an Asian-American dance rock band, will be heard by the Supreme Court Wednesday.

The band has been unable to register their name as a trademark, since the U.S. Patent and Trademark office said it disparages Asians, and disparaging trademarks are illegal. However, The Slants are fully aware of that, as they're all Asian-American. 

This ruling could be big news for the NFL's Washington Redskins, whose name has been under fire for years.

Bassist and founder Simon Tam posted his thoughts on the case on Facebook Tuesday night.

Tam said his goal in choosing the name was to reclaim a derisive slur and transform it into a badge of ethnic pride. But the trademark office said a term can be disparaging even if it's meant to be used in a positive light.

In 2015, a federal appeals court ruled 9-3 in The Slants' favor, saying the First Amendment protects "even hurtful speech that harms members of oft-stigmatized communities." But the Obama administration wants to overturn that. 

Is the Slants' name offensive?

The Slants - Heartbeat is Heaven official music video (Taiwan Tour 2016)

WATCH | Here's a sample of the Slants' music.

It's probably no coincidence that the latest Slants album is called "The Band Who Must Not Be Named."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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